Customer with Disabilities Settles Discrimination Claim Against Licenced Premises

Commission Provided Legal Representation to Man with Brain Tumour asked to leave a pub for appearing unsteady on his feet

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (the ‘Commission’) has welcomed the settlement secured in a case of a pub customer with a brain tumour who was asked to leave a pub where he had been celebrating the end of rehabilitative treatment.

The man’s condition causes a limp, and this was interpreted by staff as signs of intoxication. Despite explaining his disability directly to staff, the man was asked to leave the premises, which caused him significant distress and embarrassment.

The Commission provided direct legal representation to the man in his application to the District Court for redress under the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2003.

The matter was settled without court hearing, and the licensed premises agreed to issue a meaningful apology to the man alongside compensation of €3,500. Furthermore, the management of the premises agreed to attend an annual equality training course, and to report back to the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission under the agreed settlement, which saw no admission of liability.

In addition, the licensed premises also agreed to provide a policy on treating all customers equally and making reasonable accommodation for customers with disabilities in line with obligations under the Equal Status Acts 2000-2018 and Intoxicating Liquor Act 2003.

Under its legal functions set out in Section 40 of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014, the Commission can, in certain circumstances, provide legal assistance to a person who wishes to bring a matter of human rights or equality of treatment before the Courts

Emily Logan, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission stated:

“The Commission welcomes this legal settlement, and the clear message it sends that discrimination in private services, including licensed premises, is not acceptable and can be challenged.”

“As this case demonstrates, issues arising from brain injury should not mean you risk discrimination when out socialising. It is important that people providing services are trained and supported by employers in understanding the varied needs of their customers.

“The Intoxicating Liquor Act is acting as a barrier for people in accessing justice when they face discrimination in licenced pubs, clubs or hotels, because it says that they must take their case to the District Court, often requiring legal advice and resources. The Commission believes that people should be encouraged to report discrimination by being able to have those cases heard in the non-court setting of the Workplace Relations Commission.”

ENDS/

For further information, please contact:

Brian Dawson, IHREC Communications Manager,

01 8589601 / 087 0697095

bdawson@ihrec.ie

Visit our website www.ihrec.ie or follow us on twitter @_IHREC

Notes to Editor

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is an independent public body, appointed by the President and directly accountable to the Oireachtas. The Commission has a statutory remit set out under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act (2014) to protect and promote human rights and equality in Ireland, and build a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding in the State.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is Ireland’s national human rights institution and is recognised as such by the United Nations. The Commission is also Ireland’s national equality body for the purpose of a range of EU anti-discrimination measures.

Under its legal functions set out in the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014, the Commission can, in certain circumstances, provide legal assistance to a person who wishes to bring a matter of human rights or equality of treatment before the Courts or the Workplace Relations Commission.

Assistance under Section 40 of the Act means any or all of the following

  1. the provision, or the arranging for the provision of, legal advice to the applicant;
  2. the provision, or the arranging for the provision of, legal representation to the applicant
  3. the provision of such other assistance to the applicant as the Commission deems appropriate in the circumstances;

The Intoxicating Liquor Act 2003

Where a person considers that they have been discriminated against on or at the point of entry to licensed premises (other than in relation to the provision of accommodation or any services or amenities related to accommodation, or ceasing to provide accommodation or any such services or amenities) on one of the protected grounds within the meaning of the Equal Status Acts 2000-2018, they can apply, under section 19 of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2003, to the District Court for redress (rather than the Workplace Relations Commission which is the main body that hears complaints of discrimination that occur other than on or at the point of entry to licensed premises).

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